With summer in full swing, our July Harvest of the Month is watermelon, a fruit that is identified with this beautiful season. In addition to watermelon’s refreshing, sweet flavor, it also offers a wide variety of health benefits and nutrients. There are many creative ways to enjoy this summer snack, such as mixed into a salad with feta cheese or blended into a healthy poolside beverage. You can also enjoy it in our cafeterias across CHI, where we are featuring watermelon in many delicious menu items throughout the month.
Try These Delicious Recipes
Check out these fun facts about watermelon provided by Alexandra DePriest, University of Kentucky Dietetic Intern, who is completeing various rotations with KentuckyOne Health:
- Watermelon is technically considered both a fruit and a vegetable. It is a vegetable because it belongs to the same family as cucumbers and pumpkins. It also qualifies as a fruit because it grows from a seed and develops from the plant’s ovary after flowering.
- Watermelon is the official state vegetable of Oklahoma.
- All parts of the watermelon are edible, including the rind, which contains many nutrients. Most Americans do not eat the rind—however, in China the rind is often served stir-fried or pickled as part of a meal.
How to Buy, Store and Prepare
How to Buy and Store: Choose an uncut melon that is shiny, firm and heavy for its size, and store it in a dark, cool place. When cut, look for a deep pinkish red color. Then, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.
How to Prepare: Use a sharp knife to cut and serve sliced or diced.
Making it Kid-Friendly
Watermelon’s sweet taste is an easy sell for kids. Try blending it into a smoothie, served with yogurt, or easiest of all, cut up and served solo as a snack. Or, try making watermelon popsicles—and the kids can help. Just puree watermelon with a little water or juice in a blender (add a little peeled, sliced kiwi fruit for fun) and put it all into your popsicle molds. Then, simply freeze and enjoy!
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Watermelon is over 90% water, so this fruit can supply your body with important electrolytes to keep you hydrated. Its high water content will also help you feel full longer without the additional calories. It contains a significant amount of lycopene, which protects our bodies against cancer-causing free radicals (and lycopene gives watermelon its bright red color).
Watermelon (1 cup diced or equivalent slice):
|Calories: 40||Saturated Fat: 0g|
|Total Fat: 0g||Monounsaturated Fat: 0g|
|Total Carbohydrate: 11||Vitamin A: 15%|
|Fiber: 1g||Vitamin C: 13%|
|Protein: 1g||Vitamin K: 4%|